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Lakehead University promotes from within in selecting new leader

Moira McPherson named Thunder Bay’s university first female president
Moira McPherson Headshot COL
(Lakehead University photo)

After a Lakehead University presidential search committee spent 15 months looking for a successor to replace Brian Stevenson, the best candidate was already holding the position on a temporary basis.

Moira McPherson, the interim president and vice-chancellor of the Thunder Bay university, had her title made permanent on Sept.1.

Board of governors chair David Tamblyn made the official announcement on Sept. 5.

McPherson has held the job since January following Stevenson’s departure in late December after seven years at the helm.

She is the school’s seventh president/vice-chancellor and the first woman to hold the job.

“Dr. McPherson’s experience and impact in various roles at Lakehead, her deep knowledge and understanding of our university and its students, and her passion for our new strategic plan are just a few of the reasons why we have asked her to lead Lakehead in the coming years,” Tamblyn said in a statement.

“During her distinguished career, her dedication to Lakehead University has been unremitting as she has moved from our classrooms through to our senior executive team.”

McPherson began teaching at Lakehead in 1987 as an assistant professor in the department of physical education and athletics before becoming director of the school of kinesiology.

Known for her collaborative leadership style, she's held the positions of associate vice-president (academic), acting vice-president (academic), deputy provost, and provost/vice-president (academic).

The Lakehead news release credited her for providing strategic leadership in its programming, recruitment and partnerships; lauded her dedication to students, and her influence on several impactful projects, such as the Gichi Kendassiwin Centre, an Indigenous research centre on campus.

“It is an absolute honour to be given this opportunity to lead Lakehead University,” said McPherson.

“With the encouragement of the board, colleagues, and community partners, we will continue to build on the strengths Lakehead offers as a well-regarded university, as well as a vital member of the economic, social and cultural communities that we support – and that support us.”